Tag Archive: RGGI

Climate initiative flip-flop in N.J. is troublesome

promoted by Rosi

With Asw. Linda Stender

We face a serious crisis of conscience in New Jersey right now.

While campaigning, Gov. Chris Christie opined that we needed to do more about global warming, only to turn around after being elected and publicly express doubt over whether humans are impacting climate change. Just this week, he returned to his previous position that humans do play a role in climate change, yet yesterday announced that he is withdrawing New Jersey from one of the most monumental anti-global warming initiatives we have undertaken.

Christie pulls New Jersey out of RGGI

Well, it’s official. Gov. Chris Christie has pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), handing a big gift to the right-wing base that gives governors like him the big money, like the kind that powers Americans for Prosperity, which has made dismantling the 10 Northeast state compact one of its prime objectives. That’s AFP, whose New Jersey leader Steve Lonegan was Christie’s GOP primary opponent for governor, whose Tea Party followers spent most of Christie’s first year kvetching he wasn’t conservative enough, AFP, front group for oil and coal interests, largely underwritten by the Koch Brothers, billionaires David and Charles. Kinda people rising GOP stars need. Dig it.

paul sarlo IS AFP
WTF sign is Sarlo standing behind?

Sarlo: Inclined to blame Christie alone for all this? Think again. When he became the first Democrat to support AFP’s anti-RGGI efforts, Sen. Paul Sarlo gave Christie’s decision some Democratic cover. Yes, that’s Sarlo behind the sign: I Am AFP!

Christie’s had just a craptastic week – sagging poll numbers at home (you know, where it counts), a star-turn robo-call for the GOP loser in hot race NY-26, a Supreme Court ruling that undercuts his whole education zeitgeist. Worse, even reporters who used to be dazzled by him are beginning to report on his excesses, and his whole bluster and bullshit act is beginning to wear (except, apparently in Iowa). I’m sure he wants to get you talking about something else, anything but all that.

Dummies: This is an intelligent governor who nonetheless plays to the dummy chunk of his base by going along with the claim that there’s insufficient proof of human-caused global climate change (yay, let’s burn fuel and make our pals richer). Rutgers scientists even gave him a quiet science lesson. Sierra Club is apoplectic, roaring out with a 1432-word press release I won’t recount here (not posted at their site yet). But it makes a pretty good case that Christie’s choosing to make things easier for corporate polluters and the coal industry at the expense of your health. And that it has created (or saved) jobs, cut emissions and is supported by the state’s major utilities. Christie’s already raided $65 million from RGGI, money meant to support clean energy programs, diverted to the budget deficit.

RGGi is a first-of-its-kind initiative, and threats to it are national enviro news. NRDC just posted this poll that shows New Jerseyans will probably think their governor’s headed in the wrong direction – increasingly.  

Gov. Christie Talking The Talk; But, Is He Walking The Walk?

Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

Gov. Christie is talking the talk, but, is he walking the walk? That would not seem to be the case from his proposed $158 million cuts to the state’s highly successful Clean Energy Program administered by the Board of Public Utilities and the zeroing out the $65 million in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds – raised in state auctions of unused quotas by companies to entities that ‘pay to pollute.’

The cuts seem contrary to the Governor’s plans to promote the state’s clean energy industry. Take Petra Solar, for instance -hundreds of jobs created are testament to the importance of this program to help provide solar companies with seed capital.

Petra Solar manufactures and provides solar solution to utility companies, and other commercial and residential customers. By creating its own research and development, and manufacturing supply chain, Petra Solar has grown from a few employees at the beginning of 2009 to their current employee-base of roughly 113.

Solar Freeze & Blowing Off Wind

The $158 million cuts to the state’s Clean Energy Program will create a Solar Freeze as no new projects will be funded for the rest of year 2010. Many wind projects that would have relied on seed capital from the BPU will be blown off as well.

And yet, in his policy statement on the energy statement below – Gov. Christie says:

The NJ coastline is optimal for installation of off-shore wind farms and we need to take steps to promote that industry… [snip]

As we do so, it has to be with the understanding that production of renewable energy is presently very expensive.

Raiding Ratepayer Funds Will Raise Energy Bills In The Future

Christie’s actions belie his words. By raiding $158 million from the state’s Clean Energy Program funded by the Societal Benefit Charge, he has taken away an important means to help ratepayers reduce their energy consumption by investing in the same energy-star appliances that he touts in his energy policy. A major part of the Societal Benefit Charge is dedicated to such energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses. Christie’s raid will cause many grant applications to be denied in the upcoming year.

In his policy statement, Christie says:

To reduce the cost of energy, we have to reduce the consumption of energy.  Focusing on increased efficiencies, will lead to increased energy savings. This is as simple as energy-efficient light bulbs, windows, insulation, and appliances. The cheapest power is the power we don’t have to generate, distribute and deliver…

Corzine administration was the first New Jersey administration to take renewable energy and alternative energy economy to an all-time high with landmark initiatives and breakthrough legislations – Global Warming Response Act and Global Warming Solutions (RGGI) Funds, and the Energy Master Plan (EMP) goals to support the state’s aggressive Clean Energy Program successfully administered by the BPU. I am proud to be a central part of all these initiatives – as an architect of the EMP, sponsor of RGGI Funds, and being Chairman of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

Did Christie want to wipe the slate clean by raiding funds from RGGI and the state’s Clean Energy Program so he could resort to Christienomics when it comes to renewable energy? Aren’t his plans, reinventing Corzine’s policies as his own, so that his administration will get credit for New Jersey advancing as a green (renewable energy) economy? That would be contrary to the spirit of bipartisanship and would be contrary to the interest of the people? Can we afford to invest taxpayer dollars in the creation of Christieconomics?  

Iowa Election Day Open Thread

  • Governor Corzine signed legislation today that prohibits the sale of yo-yo waterballs. It’s the best thing to happen to NJ since the fight to ban aluminum bats.
  • The Assembly and Senate judiciary committees unanimously approved bills to enhance the state’s hate crime and school bullying laws. The bill will add “gender identity or expression” to our hate crime laws in addition to strengthening the laws for all minority groups. Update: it just passed the Senate unanimously, 35-0.
  • An Assembly panel passed legislation that would establish the first CO2 cap-and-trade program in the country – the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiaitive (RGGI) – an alliance of 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. “Under the RGGI agreement, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would be capped at current levels starting in 2009, with states eventually reducing emissions incrementally to achieve a 10-percent reduction by 2019.”
  • Corzine’s school funding plan made it through the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Retired Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein wrote to legislators that “a vote in favor of the bill is, in reality, an invitation to a series of lawsuits that will embroil the state and the advocates for for the groups that oppose the bill in contentious litigation that will last for many years.”
  • A trio of bills aimed at reducing gun trafficking passed an Assembly committee today. The bills would explicitly make gun trafficking illegal and make carrying (concealed or not) an unlawful firearm illegal. A third bill takes aim at bulk purchasers who sell weapons on the black market.
  • The Village Voice says that in the last 10 years, Jersey City’s Little India “has bloomed like a rosewater lassi.”
  • There were 99 murders in Newark in 2007, a slight drop from 107 in 2006.
  • Iowa votes in a few hours. My uneducated guess is: Obama: 35, Edwards: 32, Clinton 30. What are your Iowa predictions?
  • Living Green is a Regional Thing

    A Fascinating story came over the airwaves today via National Public Radio that’s worth sharing.  As you all know, Jon Corzine recently signed the Global Warming Response Act into law.  Since this bold move by our state is a collaboration with other (blue) states here in the Northeast, it’s worth updating what’s going on regionally.

    It’s also worth underscoring that these initiatives are in lieu of the anemic Federal response to climate change.  Frankly, treehuggers and wonks alike agree that a national strategy would be best.  But since the Bush Administration is too preoccupied with fags, flags and fetuses to bother with OO2 emissions, regional initiatives will have to do.  For now.

    This radio short checks up with an environmentalist and a power plant exec from our own PSE&G about the preparations for the upcoming transition.

     
    NPR:

    The Northeast region of the United States is the world’s seventh biggest emitter of climate changing carbon dioxide gases. But, 10 Northeast states have signed up in a regional compact called “RGGI” (Reggie) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to set mandatory caps on carbon emissions on power plants and a cap and trade program to help industry meet the reduction goals.


    For a tutorial on the economics of Cap and Trade, check out this video blog from last month.